ARLINGTON, Va. - The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) served on a Small Business Regulatory Fairness Act panel to discuss the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) proposed new rule on confined space in construction. Larry Taylor of Air Rite in Fort Worth, Texas, and immediate past ACCA chairman, served on the panel, which met on Oct. 9 and 10.

ACCA has announced that it does not fully support the current proposed rule, which is being driven by a 1994 lawsuit against OSHA by the Steel Workers Union that demanded a confined spaces rule for construction. Taylor communicated to the panel that ACCA's position is that the OSHA approximation of burdens on small business was greatly underestimated. He expressed concern that the proposal does not recognize safety practices in the field and the relationship between the owner or general contractor and subcontractors on the job. Finally, he recommended that the proposed new category called "Hazardous Enclosed Space" be eliminated, as most contractors currently follow manufacturer directions when dealing with potentially hazardous chemicals.

A report to OSHA on the panel recommendations is scheduled for delivery on Nov. 24.

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Publication date: 10/20/2003